California Laws: A Year in Review
California Laws: A Year in Review

**This article was originally published on December 30, 2018 and has been updated with new information.

Each year, new laws that have been approved take effect at the beginning of the year. In 2019, California will be seeing quite an influx of new legislation go into effect. Many of the new laws involve traffic safety, and several pertain to alternate transportation like bicycles and electric scooters, which have recently surged in popularity. Other laws address gender equality in the workplace, protections for sexual harassment victims, and environmental protections.

In addition to these laws, one of the largest legislative changes that has occurred in 2019 is the introduction of the California Consumer Privacy Act. Our blog has focused extensively on the passage of the CCPA and the implications of this legislation when it comes to consumer rights and consumer privacy. You can read more about the CCPA from the following post:

In addition to the CCPA, take a look at some of the other important changes that have occurred this year in the California legislature.

Reviewing New Laws for California in 2019

  • Helmet requirements: California is softening helmet laws in regard to electric scooters. Beginning January 1, adults in California will no longer be required to wear helmets while riding electric scooters. Riders under the age of 18 will still be required to wear helmets. However, this is a big step for dockless scooter rental companies, most of which require riders to be at least 18 years old anyway. Note that while the state has passed this legislation, cities may still impose their own regulations.
  • Helmets for minors: Conversely, helmet laws are getting stricter for minors. AB 2077 allows law enforcement to issue a “fix-it ticket” to individuals under the age of 18 who are not wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard or skates. Minors who receive such a ticket can have it corrected if they complete a bicycle safety course and get an approved helmet within 120 days.
  • Scooter speed limits: California’s vehicle code currently limits motorized scooters to roads where the speed limit is 25 mph or less. In 2019, that will change to roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less, and any roads that have a separate bike lane for scooter riders to travel in.
  • New requirements for low-emission vehicles in HOV lanes: The green and white decals allowing low-emission vehicles in HOV lanes will expire on January 1. Drivers can apply for new decals, but should note that the regulations are stricter this year and favor zero-emission electric cars to hybrid vehicles.
  • Bicycle crashes: A new law for 2019 requires bicyclists involved in a crash to stop at the scene. It is an extension of the state’s hit-and-run provisions.
  • Ignition locks: Repeat DUI offenders and first-time offenders who caused an accident that resulted in injuries will be required to install an ignition interlock device, for one to two years.
  • Ban on prosecution fees: City and county governments can no longer charge individuals for the costs of investigation, prosecution or appeal in a criminal case. This comes on the heels of The Desert Sun’s investigation into the cities of Indio and Coachella utilizing a private law firm to pursue residents for minor violations. Many residents accrued thousands in “prosecution fees” as a result.
  • Gender equality: Companies headquartered in California can no longer have all-male boards of directors. By the end of 2019, all publicly traded firms in the state must have at least one female on their board. Firms with five directors must add two women to their boards by 2021. Companies that fail to comply will face a penalty.
  • Protections for sexual harassment victims: AB 2770 protects sexual harassment victims from being sued for defamation by their alleged perpetrators, while their employer is conducting the investigation. SB 820 prohibits secret settlements and non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual harassment.
  • No more Daylight Savings Time. In November, Californians voted to end Daylight Savings Time. March may be the last time Californians set their clocks forward, as long as the federal government approves the measure.
  • Plastic reduction. Restaurants will no longer give straws to customers automatically. Customers will have to ask specifically if they want a straw with their drink. The goal is to reduce the amount of plastic that is contributing to environmental pollution.

“Updating our laws allows us to adapt to societal changes, and to ensure we are looking out for the best interests of citizens,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, El Centro, and Yucca Valley, and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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